Nature study is essential in a Charlotte Mason education. In revisiting "the basics," this is the reason we offer you this re-release of our original nature study episode. Even if you have been studying nature with your children for years, you will be re-inspired and grateful for the world that has been given.
We think of school as paper, pencils, and books, but Mason's delectable feast included innumerable other learning opportunities. We try to hit the highlights here of the vastly underrated world of things that can be considered critical to the well-rounded education.
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“The children I am speaking of are much occupied with things as well as with books, because 'Education is the Science of Relations,' is the principle which regulates their curriculum; that is, a child goes to school with many aptitudes which he should put into effect. So, he learns a good deal of science, because children have no difficulty in understanding principles, though technical details baffle them. He practises various handicrafts that he may know the feel of wood, clay, leather, and the joy of handling tools, that is, that he may establish a due relation with materials. But, always, it is the book, the knowledge, the clay, the bird or blossom, he thinks of, not his own place or his own progress.” (Vol. 6, p. 31)
“At the same time, here is the mother's opportunity to train the seeing eye, the hearing ear, and to drop seeds of truth into the open soul of the child, which shall germinate, blossom, and bear fruit, without further help or knowledge of hers.” (Vol. 1, pp. 44-45)
"At any rate he should go forth well furnished because imagination has the property of magical expansion, the more it holds the more it will hold." (Vol. 6, p. 43)
"The work is arranged on the principles which have been set forth in this volume; a wide curriculum, a considerable number of books for each child in the several classes, and, besides, a couple of hours' work daily, not with Books but with Things." (Vol. 3, p. 271)
If you would like to study along with us, here are some passages from The Home Education Series and other Parent's Review articles that would be helpful for this episode's topic. You may also read the series online here, or get the free Kindle version from Fisher Academy.
School Education (Vol. 3), Chapter 21
Towards a Philosophy of Education (Vol. 6), Book I, Sections II and III
The Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv
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Charlotte Mason increased the feast both in variety of lessons and length of lessons as the children grew, but how does one teacher with multiple students in multiple grades manage? This episode explores many of the possibilities for combining children of different levels. Creative structuring and a knowledge of what each needs is key, and there are lots of options at every stage for sharing lessons.